9.25.2012

Intuitive eating part 3

Time for some more talk about intuitive eating.

Principle #8 Respect Your Body

It's hard to make peace with food, when you hate your body.  "We also have found that if you are willing to make weight loss a secondary goal and respecting your body a primary goal, it will help move you forward."

I've seen this with myself and it's been a process to get to the point where I feel gratitude for my body. For example, I've always loved my sister Shannon's legs.  They were so thin, even though she's 3 inches taller than me.  I'd beat myself up for the fact that my legs were "bigger".  I would think that my shorter height should mean a smaller size.

Well, fast forward a few years.  Shannon and me were in the habit of working out every afternoon to the Firm workout tapes (Yes, the series from the 90's.  Lovely.).  Well, Shannon had this one mirror that hung in her living room where we worked out.  One day, while working out, I caught a glimpse of myself in comparison to her.  We both worked out in our sports bras (I know, another lovely visual.  It'd get hot...and we were alone in the privacy of her home).  I noticed that my shoulders were so much broader!  I shared my observation with Shannon.  "No," she said in either disbelief or just trying to be nice to me. So I made her stand side by side by me.  And yes, it was true.  My shoulders were so much broader.  How could this be?  She was taller!  Weren't taller people supposed to also be wider, broader, whatever? Apparently not.

This was a healing moment for me.  All those years that I'd mentally attacked myself for being fatter had been somewhat misguided.  My genetics had physically made me different.  I began to realize that my my legs weren't necessarily fatter.  Just like my shoulders, the rest of me was "broader".  As taboo as it may sound, I guess you could say I have "bigger bones" than my sister.  (Which, truth be told- one of us has had three bone breaks, while one of us has never broken a bone).  Yes, I'd always wanted Shannon's smaller calves or bonier knees, but once I began to realize that that's just not how I'm made, I began to learn to appreciate and love my own body more.  I could quit trying to be something I'm not and be the best me I could be.  

And the book says it best-

"You don't have to like every part of your body to respect it.  In fact, you don't have to immediately accept where your body is now to respect it.  Respecting your body means treating it with dignity, and meeting its basic needs.  Many of our clients treat their pets with more respect than their own bodies- they feed them, take them out for walks, and are kind to them.  Finally, if you are someone who has used food as a way to cope with your emotions over a lifetime, your present body shape may be respresentative of the way you took care of yourself when you knew no other way.  Rather than demeaning the result of this coping mechanism, respect yourself for surviving."

Principle #9 Exercise- Feel the Difference

"Forget the militant exercise.  Just get active and feel the difference.  Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise.  If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm.  If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it's usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time."

I've been at both ends of the exercise spectrum.  Once upon a time I ran 6 days a week at least 6 miles but sometimes up to 10 miles.  I've also tried the whole- work-out-two-times-a-day thing.  Then, there's the time after I had a baby that I became completely sedentary...for like two+ years.  Neither, probably the way I should've been approaching exercise.

Two stories.

For a time I was an assistant coach for a high school track team in Salt Lake City.  I ran the practices with the kids.  During the season, I ran my first 10K.  I ran the race hard and of coarse, was sore and exhausted for the following Monday's practice.  I warmed up with the team & was prepared to suck it up regardless.  That is, until the head coach advised me that for each mile spent racing, there should be a subsequent day of recovery and rest.  That meant 6 days off for me.  This was a new concept for me.  I'd ran races before and never taken time off.  He cautioned against over training.  Also a new concept. He said over training could negatively effect my performance just as under training could.  So I rested.  And after about a week, he asked me if I felt anxious and ready to run again.  "Was I missing running?"  I can't remember my response, but I remember getting to that point where I craved a good hard run.  It was eye opening for me to realize that achieving results isn't always based on the amount of hard work I put in.  I had to work smart.

Story #2.  There was a time after my mission where me & my sister made brownies everyday.  And ate most of them.  Everyday.  (With some help from our neighbor Rhonda of coarse).  Needless to say, I gained weight. Our friend Wendy had seen a lot of success with weight watchers.  So I joined.  (Let me say that I have a soft spot in my heart for weight watchers.  I credit them for helping me to better learn moderation...and I did lose weight & keep it off.)  I began to consistently lose 1-2 pounds every week.  Until one week.  I stepped on the scales confident at what the numbers would reflect.  I'd worked hard all week.  I had doubled my exercise regime to two sessions a day.  But instead- nothing.  Discouraged, the woman weighing me reviewed my eating and exercise from the past week.  When she heard about the time I was clocking in for my workouts, she advised me to cut back and see what happened.  "Instead of 90 minutes, try 45," she said.  So that is what I did.  And guess what- the next week I lost weight!  I did less exercise and saw more results.

So if I could share any wisdom I've gained from this book and from personal experience, I'd say be consistent.  Do something you can maintain.  Don't over work yourself.  Mix things up.  Give yourself permission to have an easy day or take a break occasionally.  Listen to your body.

Currently, I average 5 days a week.  Sometimes I push myself on the treadmill or with weights.  Other days, I speed walk or do Zumba (Yeah, another lovely visual.  Let's just say these long limbs aren't always so graceful.).  I'm still the same size as when I started.  But I'm not as concerned about size, I feel the difference.

Well, I was gonna finish this off with the last principle but this post has already achieved "marathon post" status. So look for the last principle plus some last thoughts by me coming soon.

(Intuitive Eating part 1 here & part 2 here)

And, a completely unrelated picture of a day when I found all three of my boys watching Cars.
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